Workplace Wellness

How Inefficiency Hurts Your Business for Sustainability

Saturday, February 22, 2014 by

In today's technologically driven world, there are many ways a business can become more efficient. This efficiency translates to greater net income as well as promoting a stronger future for humanity. Let's face it, without focusing on the continuation of humankind, there will be no customers in the future. With all of the innovative developments at our disposal, there are still many people that prefer to perform archaic principles in business that are not conducive to growth. In what ways can this inefficiency hurt your business for sustainability?

1. Wasting Time - One of the most valued commodities of any business is time. By not investing in ways to increase efficiency in the workplace, your business is losing money through wasting the one thing that cannot be recuperated. Instead of the pencil and pen ledger, software exists to allow you to reduce the time spent on record keeping exponentially. This means less paper is used, less time is wasted and more money remains in your bank accounts instead of paying staff to do the work that only requires a few clicks of the mouse.

2. Wasting Electricity - By not examining the electronics that are turned on all the time that don't need to be, you are wasting electricity. Not all computers and monitors need to be left on day-in and day-out. The only real appliance that should be left on is the server. That staff member you may have that is only at his or her desk once per week doesn't need the computer left on. This waste of electricity is damaging to your energy bill as well as hurting the rest of the community by taking energy that could be used elsewhere.

3. Wasting Paper - Did you know that nearly every aspect of any given business can be done digitally? Even receipts for purchases can be emailed instead of printed. Since tablets and smartphones can open most office documents, there is no real reason to have hard copies. Digital documents can be stored and backed up far easier than the printed counterparts - and will take up less physical space. The only real forms that may be needed are those that require personal initials or signatures such as real estate documents or contracts. Memos, correspondences and many other forms of printed material are no longer needed if you have the right alternatives. The financial savings alone from ink and paper should be more than enough incentive to look into efficient alternatives. 

4. Wasting Water - Faucets and toilets within the facility may be wasting water, but what about outside the business? Everyone likes to see greenery surrounding the headquarters or business establishment. However, is the water being put into keeping it green used wisely? There are still organizations out there that have sprinkler systems that operate when it's raining outside. There are products available now that can reduce the amount of time you spend watering the grass and flowers by up to 50-percent. This means you are wasting less water on the ambiance of your business while keeping more money in your bank.

As a business owner, you should be setting an example of professionalism. In a world where so many resources are dwindling rapidly, you need to realize that the business establishment greatly contributes to the loss of these resources. Look around your location and develop a strategy to become more sustainable for the environment and your profitability.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

Unique Investment Options: Parnassus Workplace and Asia Funds

Saturday, December 7, 2013 by

A good place to work makes for a good investment – that’s the basic premise of the Parnassus Workplace Fund. In other words, a company that treats its employees well should be successful as a business. Since its inception over eight years ago (on April 29, 2005), the Parnassus Workplace Fund has demonstrated the truth of this premise.

The idea for the Parnassus Workplace Fund was first presented to me by Milton Moskowitz, co-author of the annual Fortune magazine survey of The 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. Russell Associates, the analytics group and creator of the Russell 2000 Index and other benchmarks, had contacted Moskowitz and told him that they had done a study of the publicly-traded companies in the annual Fortune list, and found that the stock-market performance of those companies had been excellent, handily beating the S&P 500 over long periods of time.

Moskowitz called me with the news and urged me to start a mutual fund that invested in companies with good workplaces. I was hesitant at first, because studies are not the same as investing with real money, and the results can be very different. However, the idea struck a chord in me because I’d always felt that a company with a happy workforce made for a good investment, but until then I had no way of proving it. Despite my initial hesitation, I decided to go ahead and start the Parnassus Workplace Fund with Milton Moskowitz as a consultant to the Fund. The Fund has been successful, and as of June 30, 2013, it has over $350 million in assets.

We use two sets of criteria in making investment decisions: financial and workplace. Assessing the financial criteria involves doing fundamental analysis to find companies with high returns, good products and services, sustainable competitive advantages and solid balance sheets. Once we have done the financial analysis, we make an estimate of the value of the company. Usually, we will only buy a stock if it is selling for no more than two-thirds of its intrinsic value. This gives us an important margin of safety.

While the financial analysis is quantitative, the workplace assessment is qualitative. We think it is important to visit companies and talk with management to find out if a company has a good workplace. While almost all companies will say they have a good workplace, the ones that impress us the most are ones that can give specific examples and articulate policies that make them good places to work. Important characteristics include: some meaningful form of profit-sharing or stock-ownership; good health-care and retirement benefits; support for working mothers; an emphasis on training and personal development; job flexibility; and recognition for accomplishments. We like companies that respect their employees, genuinely care about them and don’t just treat them as hired hands.

I think that picking companies with good workplaces is one of the keys to the Fund’s success. Some of the extra return we get is because of our financial analysis and using a value approach to investing, but a lot of our edge comes from choosing companies that are great places to work. If people are happy at work, they will be more productive, and this means better results from the same number of people. It also means that that there will be lower turnover, and this results in less money spent on recruiting and training new people. More importantly, workers at this kind of firm will help to save money for their employer and also find ways to develop more business for the company. It’s impressive what can happen when happy workers are allowed to be creative and come up with ways to build a better business.

The Fund is careful about taking risks, making sure that there is the potential for more upside gain than downside risk. The market has really taken off so far in 2013, so we have to be careful to avoid stocks that may be over-valued. Right now, the economy is improving, so there should be more upside, but there’s no doubt that some valuations have gotten ahead of themselves, so it’s important to look at both potential risk and potential return.

Parnassus Asia Fund

On April 30, 2013, Parnassus started its first new fund in eight years: the Parnassus Asia Fund. This is our first venture into international investing. Asia is a very dynamic and creative place. It contains the world’s fastest-growing middle class, and it is the scene of much technological innovation. Asia is also a region with a lot of entrepreneurship, and it is developing deep financial markets. Given that the region is growing at a fast pace, and we expect that growth to continue, it makes sense to invest in Asia ahead of future positive developments and despite all of the complications in doing so.

Continue reading this article on Green Money Journal.

In Praise of Telecommuting

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by

telecommutingYahoo's decision to end their work-from-home policy caused quite a stir. I won't second-guess Marissa Mayer's decision to do this, because I'm not there. She's got on-the-ground knowledge.

However, as a long-time telecommuter and huge fan of this mode of work, I would leave Yahoo rather than give it up. Here's why:

From a green business perspective, telecommuting is a Triple Bottom Line practice.

People - Commuting to work is generally not adored by those who do it. Telecommuting:

  • Gives you back your life - literally. How much of your life do you want to spend sitting in traffic? My last employer was 15 miles away, a 30 to 45-minute trip during rush hour. When the traffic was really bad, it was closer to 90 minutes a day. Conservatively, that's 5 hours a week for 50 weeks a year or 250 hours a year. Do the math for your commute. Really think about that number. You never get that time back.
  • Reduces stress. For me, almost any activity is less stressful than driving in rush hour traffic. And stress, as a recent Fortune article reminds us, can kill you. Among other things, I use the extra time to sleep. That's not lazy - that's healthy. Wondering if being crazy-busy is bad for you? It is.

Planet - If the Earth could hug people, it would hug telecommuters because they:

  • Use less gas. And thus are responsible for less pollution related to the drilling for, transporting, refining and distributing of oil and gasoline.
  • Produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In my case, not driving an extra 7500 miles per year avoids about 3400 pounds of GHG emissions. TerraPass has a simple calculator to help figure out what you could save, based on your specific car and commute.
  • Can drive their cars longer. My Honda Civic Hybrid is 10 years old. Not buying a new car - with all the attendant steel, rubber, plastic, glass, fabric, electronics, wiring, etc. required - conserves natural resources for the planet.

Profit - Telecommuting cuts costs and boosts revenues for my business.

  • Cost savings include:
    • Lower car maintenance bills. I replace tires, brakes, oil and so on less frequently because I drive my car less. The Honda dealer has actually tried to buy my Civic back becuase it's in such good condition.
    • Lower bills for gas. Driving 7500 miles less per year means using about 166 fewer gallons of gas. At $3.50 a gallon X 166 gallons, I save about $583 a year. If you don't drive a hybrid, you'll save a lot more.
    • No tolls. My old route cost $3.50 a day, $17.50 a week, about $875 annually.
  • More revenue comes from:
    • Using the extra 250 hours a year to do more billable work. I don't burn the midnight oil. I just use the time otherwise lost in commuting.
    • Using the extra time to invest in ongoing business education. From conferences to courses to reading business books, it's essential in order to provide the best client service. 

These are MY numbers. According to Global Workplace Analytics, some 3 million Americans telecommute some or all of the time. That's a fraction of the number who could telecommute. I encourage you to try it!

Tips for Successful Telecommuting

How you telecommute really depends on your work style. There's no one right way to do it. Here are 5 tips that work for me:

Logistics

  • Have an office space with the proper equipment. Have people who can troubleshoot your equipment when it acts up.
  • Office doors physically separate my workspace from the rest of my life. When my daughter was young, she knew that closed doors meant that Mom was working and she had to wait. Unless she was bleeding. My doors have big glass insets, so I could see if she was bleeding.

Mindset

  • Focus on results. When I write something for a client, they don't care if I wrote it at Starbucks or behind my office desk. They just want it to be good and achieve their business objectives. Businesses that don't trust that you are working unless they can see you are behind the times.

Operating procedures

  • Maintain regular communications with your boss and co-workers, or with clients. It keeps isolation at bay and ensures you are in the loop when circumstances change. Take the initiative to overcome the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome.
  • Get out of the house every day. Continual sitting is actually a health risk, so don't feel guilty about taking breaks. It gives both body - and your creativity - a boost.

Telecommuting and kids

One thing I did not do was work from home and try to care for my child at the same time. My daughter always had childcare in a different location. That choice worked well for my family. Your choice may differ.

So telecommute if you can!

It's a win for you, your clients, and the planet. How often is that the case?

Final shout out: Here's A Visual Breakdown of the Benefits of Working from Home from the LOHAS blog in October 2012.

Alison Lueders is the Founder and Principal of Great Green Editing. She provides writing and editing services to businesses and social enterprises that value high-quality content. She earned her Bronze seal from Green America in April 2013 and Platinum-level recognition from the Green Business Bureau in 2012.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Increase Energy Sustainability Within Your Business

Monday, May 20, 2013 by

If you're a business owner, you understand the need to cut costs as often as possible in order to promote growth and profit within your company. For every dime saved from spending on one aspect of your business, another can be further increased. For example, saving money on your electric bill each month could put that money into your marketing budget for continued growth. What can be done around the business in order to promote saving money on energy and promoting sustainability?

1. Lighting - As your business may stay open for hours at a time, you could be utilizing a great deal of energy just in lighting alone. Although fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs are prevalent in many locations, what else can be done? 

  • Spending less than $25 for motion sensing light switches can prevent rooms from wasting power when no one is in them.
  • Solar Energy kits that cost less than $200 can power some of the lighting within the establishment.
  • Dimmer switches can be used to dial back lighting that may be too bright for the area

2. Computer Equipment - Contrary to the beliefs of some techs, computers do not need to be turned on all day and night. In fact, this constant use can impact a computer in a number of negative ways. Cooling fans and computer hardware have a finite lifespan. For each hour spent turned on, the computer system is one hour closer to needing repair. Your servers are the only thing that should be operating constantly.

3. Solar Arrays - Although this could be an expensive investment depending on your energy needs, your business could benefit from tax credits and subsidies for implementing solar power developments. If you are able to install the panels yourself, your business could slowly build an array one panel at a time in order to save a great deal of money on the installation costs as well as the electric bill of the facility. Over time, your business could generate 100-percent of the power it needs in order to conduct day-to-day operations.

4. HVAC Systems - Keeping your establishment comfortable for your customers and staff can improve business relations and productivity. Using products such as Insuladd paint additive can help keep the costs of running heating and cooling units down as they promote thermal barrier technology. Essentially, this adds a layer of insulation to your walls within the paint. Energy efficient cooling and heating appliances such as a Haier air conditioner and an EdenPure heater can decrease these costs as well while providing a comfortable atmosphere.

5. Reduce Electronics - In a small business, is it realistic for everyone to have his or her own printer? Even a device that is unused such as a printer is pulling power while it's turned on. Sleep mode on monitors is still draining power as well. By reducing your appliance load to only necessities, you can save on the amount of power that is wasted by unused and idle hardware.

Although you don't have to invest thousands of dollars to create a 100-percent sustainable power method from solar arrays, there are many ways you can reduce the spending on energy costs while promoting a more eco-friendly atmosphere. The investments you make now for sustainable methods within the business will help your growth in a variety of ways. Investigate other methods of improving efficiency within the workplace and give a boost to other aspects of your business.

About the Author:

Ken Myers is an expert advisor on in-home care & related family safety issues to many websites and groups. He is a regular contributor to www.gonannies.com. You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo@gmail.com

Free One Month Membership To My Yoga Online

Friday, May 3, 2013 by

My Yoga Online is the leading international online source for yoga instruction and overall healthy living. The website promotes mind-body health, wellness and holistic living with more than 1,000 online yoga, Pilates, and meditation videos.  The site also provides expert information on healthy living, workplace wellness, green living, health advice, a Q&A forum with experts, and more.

On Mother’s Day, May 12, My Yoga Online will launch the “Yoga for Busy Moms” Series, helping moms everywhere stay calm and centered!

Use this link for a free one month membership to My Yoga Online: http://www.myyogaonline.com/m/lohas

 

8 Ways To Keep Your Stress Levels Down At Work

Friday, January 25, 2013 by

work stressMany people underestimate the effects of work related stress but it can cause many detrimental issues. Stress can affect your job performance. This may even become a vicious cycle of more stress if you receive poor evaluations from your supervisor and/or you are passed over for promotions. Stress can also seriously impact your health. It is well known that stress weakens the immune system making you more susceptible to catching the flu and other diseases. It also puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Work related stress can bleed over into other areas of your life too such as negatively affecting the relationship you have with your family and friends.

Reduce Stress Before You Go To Work

If you are already stressed out when you get to work, things that would normally not bother you at work may stress you out. Therefore, it is important to develop strategies for reducing your stress level before you get to work. 5-10 minutes of exercise can work wonders. Listening to your favorite music as you travel to work can also help a lot. You may want to learn some basic deep breathing yoga techniques and practice these a few minutes before you step into the workplace.

Define Your Job's Expectations More Clearly

Studies have shown that a significant source of stress in the workplace is due to uncertain job expectations. This type of uncertainty can prevent you from knowing if you have performed well on your job even when you are trying very hard to do so. The best way to eliminate this source of stress if to talk candidly with your supervisor and make sure that you clearly agree on what's expected from you.

Avoid Workplace Conflict

Interpersonal conflicts between co-workers is another significant source of job related stress. You can take steps to minimize these conflicts by being careful about how you interact with your co-workers. For example, you can avoid controversial topics of conversation such as political or religious issues. Also, while it is perfectly acceptable to joke around with your co-workers, be sure not to take the jokes too far as this could cause misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Be Nice To Your Co-Workers

Building on the old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey," making a special effort to be nice to your co-workers can create a more amicable work environment with less stress. This does not mean that you have to fake it. Just make an effort to treat your co-workers with kindness and respect. Genuine compliments are remembered for a long time. Kind gestures such as bringing in fresh vegetables from your garden to share or perhaps providing fresh cut flowers for the break room or your co-workers' desks can also help create a pleasant stress free work environment.

Keep Your Workspace Well Organized

If your personal workspace is cluttered and disorganized, this will be a source of stress. The good news is you have control over this source of stress and you can remedy it yourself. If you use a computer at work, making sure your desktop and your file structure is organized will also help reduce stress.

Find Ways To Reduce Physical Pain

Physical pain in the workplace is quite common and can create mental stress without you even realizing it. If have a desk job, your chair may cause back pain, neck pain, and discomfort in other areas of your body`. You can reduce this pain by replacing your desk chair with one that is more ergonomic or perhaps just adjusting the one you have. Sometimes, changing the height or angle of your computer monitor can be very helpful. If you stand a lot on the job, make sure you have an ergonomic mat under your feet to reduce the pressure on your feet, knees, and hips. If your job entails repetitive motions, make sure you take enough breaks and/or determine if you can perform the same task with a slightly different motion. Eye strain is also common in the workplace. Occasionally re-focusing your eyes on a distant object can help minimize this problem.

Make the Most Of Your Breaks

This importance of this point cannot be over emphasized. Even if you only have a 15-minute break or a half hour for lunch, there are things you can do during that time that will greatly lower your stress at work. If your job is sedentary, try doing something physical on your breaks. If nothing else, take a brisk walk. If you can find the space, you can do some simple exercises. Find ways to de-stress and get totally away from your work environment, even if this just means going out to your car, closing your eyes, and listening to your favorite music. You may also want to find a simple respite a short distance away from the workplace such as feeding the birds or just walking a block and  filling your lungs with fresh air.

Take a Professional Stress Management Course

Taking a professional stress management course can help you in a number of ways. Many people do not recognize the early signs of stress. A professional stress management course can help you learn to recognize the early signs of stress and deal with them effectively so they don't fester and grow into bigger problems. A professional stress management course can also help develop a custom plan to deal with your specific source(s) of work related stress.

LOHAS Wellness Trends

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by

wellness trendsAfter scanning health and wellness trends for 2012 here are a few that caught my eye along with my own perspectices that are LOHAS related.

1. Yoga & Meditation as Mainstream Treatment: Interest in alternative treatments will experience a second surge. Even though interest in alternative treatments is already high, more people, practitioners and patients will be willing to experiment with new remedies, activities and lifestyle changes to avoid these kinds of medications. A study[10] finds that of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or tai chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were “prescribed” by their medical provider.  Yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, guided imagery, acupuncture and other practices will continue to gain attention due to their ability to calm, soothe and attend to medical situations such as chronic pain, hypertension, obesity and stress. With returning PTSD suffering Iraqi war veterans and stress brought upon with tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes there will be a greater interest in how trauma affects us both personally and in our institutions, including our workplaces and schools and how to respond in effective ways.

2. Awareness & Prevention Will Have a Renewed Focus: As chronic diseases account for many of our healthcare issues and costs there will be a revitalized focus on preventative medicine. Anticipate the integration of wellness programs into businesses by employers and provide resources programs to encourage better health and prevention. This was predicted in our 2011 wellness trends but anticipate stronger campaigns on all fronts as health becomes a larger issue for society.

3. The Empowered Consumer Continues to Rise: The DYI trend among consumers will continue in 2012. And technology plays a large role here. Research shows that 80% of U.S. Internet users claim to have used the web to search for health-related information and answers. And that is just search. Many platforms from interactive healthcare kiosks to social media to personalized health sites are allowing consumers to empower themselves. As consumers increasingly turn to self-service technologies and channels, the entire healthcare industry has a tremendous opportunity to reach, engage and interactive with today’s empowered consumer. And that will yield some powerful results from consumers to doctors to advertisers.

4. Family Wellness Travel: The boom in solo travellers continues to rise for wellness holidays but more families are now searching for these types of getaways. Parents want their children to be healthy on holiday and also keep busy with plenty of activities so they don’t get bored. More resorts are also introducing healthy children’s menus so they can learn good habits early. Parents also want to be able to enjoy holistic activities and spa treatments, whilst their children are staying active.

5. Retail Plays an Increased Role: In response to the DYI demand from consumers in-store clinics and healthcare kiosks will play vital roles to connect with consumers for better healthcare access, awareness and treatments. Consumers are still frequenting brick-n-mortar stores; connecting with them while they are there offers great opportunities for healthcare providers, advertisers and the retail locations.

6. Holidaying with Health Gurus: Top health and fitness experts now work at some of the leading resorts around the world. More people want to receive dedicated support and guidance from the best in the industry; wellness retreats are bringing in the top yoga teachers, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and more health gurus to raise their game. Clients want to be inspired and informed so that they can lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle when they return home. Expect more tailored programs to be developed such as ones provided at Tao Inspired Living or Rancho La Puerta.

7. Obesity Awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work to be done. 

8. Whole-life training: Lifestyle/ Wellness coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers, fitness centers and spas looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education and training to include this skill set. There are efforts to clearly define the parameters of coaching and help distinguish coaching (which is future-focused) from other professional services like counseling (which delve into a person’s past). The medical industry and academic groups are examining the value of wellness coaching. Harvard Medical School (www.harvardcoaching.org) now underwrites an annual conference on coaching’s role in healthcare. One of the many research initiatives being analyzed by the International Coaching Research Forum (U.K.) is developing coaching as a global, academic profession. Companies like Wellpeople.com (U.S.) offer certified on-site or virtual wellness coaches for spas, hospitals and businesses. Anticipate fitness facilities to hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition, and stress-management programs.

9. Community Collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks, and recreation centers. Local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. The Canyon Ranch Institute provides Life Enhancement Programs in underserved communities of the South Bronx, Cleveland, and Tuscon to prevent, diagnose, and address chronic diseases.

10. Healthy Fast Food: There will be a greater push to keep students and employees healthy. This will mean a closer examination of cafeteria food in schools and on-site vending machines in work places, including information on how eating patterns create stress, obesity and health and behavior problems. As more people recognize the failings of fast food and food processing companies expect vendors to upgrade their product offerings to develop and market products that are not only healthy but actually promote health.

11. Clean Eating Focus: The food-health connection will be very important. As we learn more about "clean eating" -- consuming foods without preservatives, chemicals, sugars and other additives -- our habits will change as we read labels even more carefully and appreciate the rewards of more energy and fewer chronic illnesses. Along with clean eating, we will also become aware of the problems associated with GMO crops that have been over-hybridized by corporations for fast growth and easy harvest. The Non GMO projectThe Institute for Responsible Technology and others are working on raising awareness for consumers on the hazards of GMO foods on the environment and health.

12. Evidence based Spa Therapies: There has been a significant amount of efforts put forth by skincare companies and alternative therapy groups to provide research backing the results of treatments. SpaEvidence is a web resource that gives the world easy access to the “evidence-based medicine” databases that doctors use, so they can search thousands of studies evaluating which spa modalities are proven to work, and for which exact conditions.

Feel free to add any that I may have missed.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

LOHAS Trends 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012 by

After reviewing the numerous trend articles out there and considering my own perspectives I have put together some that I think are relevant to LOHAS. Here are a few that I feel are relevant for the coming year:

1. Whiskey is for Drinking, Water Is for Fighting Over
droughtThe famous Mark Twain quote will become more prevalent in society as new realities of water scarcity will become better known to an ever growing global thirst.  Everyone will talk about it but few will do anything. Sadly, it may only start to take off if humanitarian crises hit close to home.  As we focus on our societal water use, it is an admission that climate change is our new reality and it is time to start managing the effects. The material risks associated with increased droughts and flooding will be among the most poignant effects of climate change. You may already be talking about this with the lack of snowfall around the country during the early part of this year.

2. Capitalism is Changing as We Know and it Should
Since the Industrial Age, businesses have built their wealth off of the extraction of natural resources. Unless businesses start to value and protect these resources, this cycle will have a devastating impact on the lives of our children and grandchildren.  Richard Branson echoes this sentiment and also believes it cannot survive in its current model. This can also cause potential ecoflation identified in 2008.  Many people have begun to realize that business as usual is no longer an option. What is an option is to reinvent capitalism and truly be a force for good in the world. Certification groups such as FairTrade and Benefit Corporation are working to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  The changing economic scene provides unique opportunity for innovation and success in unconventional settings. The sky is the limit as new ways to do better business are taking root everyday.

3. Blurring the Differences Between “For-Profits” and “Non-Profits”
nonprofit forprofitThere has been a surge of entrepreneurs providing innovative business solutions with the purpose of “doing good”.   In these tumultuous times when unemployment is high, many are turning their backs on the job fairs and putting their efforts into creating new businesses that fill needs such as TaskRabbit, and Viatask.   Non-profits will incorporate more for-profit business models into their programs. There is a strong growth in social entrepreneurialism globally and this will increase with the emergence of new solutions for world issues. Groups like the Social Venture Network, Sansori and Unreasonable Institute will increase to provide resources for start ups. Social enterprises will encompass the very definition of business and 2012 will be an important year.

4. Gamificating Your life
Expect and increase in the game addiction methods to make a world a better place this next year. Game and point system rewards programs such as My Recycle Bank , My Energy and Greenopolis will see newcomers such as Ecobonus that rewards points to green and organic shoppers. More smart apps will provide LOHAS shoppers and energy efficiencies for homes and automobiles. 

5. Evidence Based Sustainability
Proof of sustainability will be emphasized more than ever as businesses will seek cost effective measure to reduce bills and be a good environmental citizen. Purchasing departments will be requiring vendors to document how they address sustainability issues within their own businesses will become more commonplace. As facilities and businesses increasingly operate in a more sustainable manner, they will turn to "dashboard" systems to help measure, manage and report progress.

6. We'll All Want to Plug in to Plug-in Hybrids
plugin hybridHybrids are not new but the latest improvements in technology will allow them to be more affordable to the average consumer. If electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are the trail-blazers, plug-in hybrids could be the game-changer the auto industry has been seeking. The prospect of a car that can travel distances of up to 40 miles using electric power before switching to a gas engine for longer journeys promises to overcome the biggest objection to electric cars - the fear the battery will run out mid-journey.  Design also looks exciting. We only need to look into BMW i8 roadster concept and visualize where this might take the car industry in near future. The high profile Vauxhall Ampera and Toyota Plug-in hybrid will create a lot of buzz this year and assuming the cars offer reasonable performance they could quickly become the default option for green-minded motorists and cost-conscious fleet operators

7. More Fun with Sharing Stuff
Sharing will not only be a part of social media but of reality. Considerations of downscaling due to financial, lifestyle reasons or social pressures will increase in sharing the excesses of the past decade as we become more conscious of what we have that we don’t use that others can borrow. Rent Stuff, Loanables and Rent Stuff Easy allow you to do exactly what they say.  A while back Sharable listed eight ways to share your stuff. That's about few of those thousands of ways of giving your stuff (or money) away for charity. Couchsurfing connects travelers with people who offer their homes as an economical place to stay. Rising oil costs will put pressure on transportation and the demand for shared and public transportation. Transportation share programs such as Zipcar, Bixi or Bcycle will increase. In four years the number of registered users have gone up from less than one million to more than four million. By carpooling, shared trips have gone up from less than three million to almost eight million.
 
8. Responsible Profitability Attracts Attention
Responsibility has been strongly associated with greater profitability, equity and asset returns, and shareholder value creation. But that’s no longer good enough. Today, the bar is being raised; success is itself changing. Companies are beginning to be judged against a whole new set of criteria by customers, governments, communities, employees, and investors. They’re already saying, so you made a profit. Yawn. Did you actually have an impact? Did what you do have a positive, lasting consequence that was meaningful in human terms? Several studies have provided evidence suggesting that betterness yields greater equity returns, asset returns, and profitability. This not only makes sense for those who are mission oriented but also for risk management.  One recent study found firms that score strongly in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) find that their cost of equity capital financing is consistently lower than firms with weaker CSR track records. Responsibility fuels outperformance because it is risk management: better insurance against adverse future events.

9. Emphasis on Corporate Culture
Successful startup companies such as Method, Zappos and New Belgium Brewery are all preachers of their unique culture developed around their workplace. They preach not to chase the profits but to chase the dream. Engaging employees as a collective of ideas and not compartmentalization is a new form of corporate structure. It is not just about the fun office parties and surroundings but understanding the larger mission of the company and empowering employees. Creative agencies and culture builders have seen the need to train and educate companies on these emerging traits that are attractive for the young new work force.

10. Natural Disasters Will Continue
Expect your homeowners insurance rate to rise in 2012 as weather related damages cost $70 natural disastersbillion in U.S. economic losses in 2011.  All the indicators on climate risk are pointing the wrong way.  The financial and human cost of extreme weather and climate-related disasters is on an unmistakably upward trend. Meanwhile, our energy infrastructure remains as risky as ever with the Fukushima disaster following the BP oil spill in highlighting how fragile our energy supplies really are. It is a safe bet that 2012 will again be marred by a large-scale environmental tragedy of one form or another. Meanwhile, sensible businesses and policymakers will start taking climate adaptation more seriously.

References for these trends are:
Ecopreneurist.com
Taombo.com
Greenbiz.com
Huffington Post
PR Newswire

Are there any missing? Let me know what others trends you forsee for 2012 and LOHAS.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

The Glass is Shaky: Stress and Health

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by

 

 

The glass may be half empty or half full, but odds are high it's being held tightly.  A recent study found that one third of the U.S. population reports living with extreme stress, and 74% of respondents identify work as the primary source of stress.  Employers looking for healing therapies that respond to these concerns, may be well served to trend toward integrative medicine. 

 

Stress is a widely documented health issue with multiple associated risks that cost billions in health expenses every year.  In addition to the intangibles of stress exacerbating other conditions, stress affiliated illnesses have indirect costs for employers, too.  In fact, a $300 billion price tag has been attached to workplace stress for issues such as absenteeism, presenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, and a host of related costs.  

Stress may well be the most massively problematic health problem in the U.S. today, in part because it has so many complex and dangerous effects. 
Stress has been associated with elevated risks for a number of devastating and debilitating diseases like:heart

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure  
In addition to weakening the immune system, which in turn may increase incidence of cold, flu, and other illness, stress can also impact chronic anxiety, insomnia, pain, clinical depression, and other conditions.   Each condition typically results in additional doctor visits, labwork, and ultimately more prescriptions for the life of the patient, and estimates concur that between 75% - 90% of all doctor visits are related to stress.

 

 

Treated allopathically through standard medicine, stress is often unlikely to be resolved since this approach may create a lifetime of illness treatment: yielding permanent patients with unresolved, aggravated conditions in a constant, unsustainable cycle of sickness.  Turning to integrative alternative medicine, conscious consumers may find successful options to prevent and manage this nebulous problem.

happy heartComplementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) solutions to stress may include a variety of treatments including nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy, improved rest strategies, or other wellness based approaches to relaxation.  Lifestyle interventions like these are proven methods in helping patients make lasting changes.    

 

Authenticity and Integrity

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by

What is Inside the “Black Box” of Leadership?

by Susan Skjei, Lyn Ciocca McCaleb, & Mark Wilding


Authenticity is a core value of the LOHAS marketplace. Integrating sustainability and ethics with goals of growth and profitability is essential for the long term success of the market.

“Consumer sentiment has reached a tipping point and there is a significant portion of the buying public making purchasing decisions based on ingredients, impact, manufacturing practices & company ethics.  Those buying decisions impact how people drive, and eat, watch and invest.”Editor LOHAS Journal Spring.

Integrating these values into the day to day workings of organizations is difficult, and the LOHAS companies that learn to master this integration will be the enterprises that grow and prosper.  What are the critical factors that will create the great LOHAS companies of the future?  We can look for some answers in the research on conventional companies.


From Good to Great

In Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, he and his team investigated 1,435 companies within the Fortune 500 and found eleven that made the shift from “good to great” based on cumulative stock returns.    One critical factor of the great companies is that all eleven had executives that were “Level 5” leaders. The book likens the pursuit of identifying how a company goes from good to great to deciphering what’s inside of a black box.  One of the many components within the black box “is yet another black box – namely the inner development of a leader to Level 5”.

A key question asked in the book is “can you learn to be a Level 5 leader?”  Jim Collins does not propose that we develop a “Ten-Step List to Level 5” and instead suggests that we watch what Level 5 leaders actually “do”. He does believe that there are people who have the capacity to develop into a Level 5 leader “under the right circumstances – self reflection, conscious personal development, a mentor, a great teacher, loving parents, a significant life experience, a Level 5 boss…” 


Inside the “Black Box” of Inner Development

Business and leadership training has been focused almost exclusively on external measures of achievement, with little attention to cultivating our inner capacities of intelligence, intuition, wisdom and compassion. In the LOHAS world there is an opportunity to truly integrate core human values into how we lead, and many believe that we need to rediscover and reconnect with our inner capabilities and lead from that place if we are going to meet the challenges inherent in today’s world. 


Authentic Leadership

There is a growing movement called “Authentic Leadership” that directly addresses the inner development of leaders. In addition to a book entitled Authentic Leadership by Bill George, former CEO of Medtronics, there is work being done at a number of institutions including the University of Michigan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Naropa University.  Naropa University has developed a model for its Authentic Leadership program that employs an integrated approach.  The design combines training in traditional business skills with work that cultivates the inner dimensions of leadership. Three competency areas are emphasized throughout the program, supported by coaching and “action learning” projects in the workplace. The three competencies are authentic presence, skillful communication, and effective action.

Authentic Presence/Self Awareness

Authentic presence is the starting place for us as leaders — it is the ground of individual authenticity.  We all possess it, but sometimes it is difficult to see or experience because of anxiety and fixation on the past or the future.  By settling into the present moment and relating with what is actually occurring, we can let go of defensiveness and accept responsibility.  Current leadership research shows that credibility, genuineness and authenticity are important characteristics that followers want from their leaders.  However, authenticity is not just an end state, but a journey in itself.  It means being willing to take risks and be completely present in a situation.  It also means learning more deeply about the things that really matter to us and sharing our aspirations and dreams with others.


Relationships/Skillful Communication

Skillful communication helps us expand our sense of well-being and trust in the world around us.    It starts with accepting full responsibility for all of our interactions, and then looking for ways to strengthen our relationships.  Skillful communication utilizes specific methods such as self-disclosure, inquiry and conflict resolution.  Developing emotional intelligence and learning to appreciate different styles and expressions helps leaders enhance relationships and coordinate complex tasks and projects.  This approach fosters a highly creative and highly committed organizational culture.


Effective action/Leading Change

Effective action can’t take place without the preparation of authentic presence and skillful communication. Companies are in constant processes of change and adaptation, and leading successful initiatives requires more than following the steps of the latest change theory. Authentic leaders create a culture of commitment that inspires full engagement and unconditional responsibility in individuals and teams.  Out of this complete engagement comes actions that are intelligent (or strategic) and compassionate (or empathetic). Organizations that learn how to approach change in this way are more resilient and capable of adapting to new conditions with enthusiasm and commitment. 
 

21 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 by


Recycle logo
For all of you out there who’ve asked us how to recycle or compost assorted items over the years, here’s our list to post on your refrigerator door and copy to share with friends. If you have other resources and information please feel free to share. Enjoy!




1. Appliances:
Goodwill accepts working appliances, www.goodwill.org, or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them: 800/YES-1-CAN, www.recycle-steel.org.

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions, 734/467-9110,
www.batteryrecycling.com.

3. Cardboard boxes:
Contact local nonprofits and women’s shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer them up at your local Freecycle.org listserv or on Craigslist.org. If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more boxes each month, UsedCardboardBoxes.com m accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they’ll work like new: 888/454-3223, www.auraltech.com. For recycling, see “Technotrash.”

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or women’s shelter. Donate wearable women’s business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs, 212/532-1922, www.dressfor success.org. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling: www.ikea.com. Or, order a Sylvania RecyclePak for $15, which is a special lined box large enough for eight average CFLs. Your fee covers shipping to and recycling at Veolia Environmental Systems. To order, visit www.sylvania.com/Recycle/RecyclePak.

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You’ll need to take them to a municipal composter; find one at www.findacomposter.com.

8. Computers and electronics: Find responsible recyclers, local and national, at www.ban.org/pledge/Locations.html.

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at www.videofitness.com. (See also “Technotrash.”)

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.

11 . Foam packing peanuts: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept these for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers, 410/451-8340, www.epspackaging.org/info.html.

12. Ink/toner cartridges: Recycleplace.com m pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org listserv, or try giving them away at Throwplace.comm or giving or selling them at iReuse.comm. iReuse.com will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state: 202/682-8000, www.recycleoil.org.

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to people in developing countries: 770/856-9021, www.collectivegood.com. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims: www.donateaphone.com. Recycle single-line phones: Reclamere, 814/386-2927, www.reclamere.com.

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet, 800/476-9249, www.playitagainsports.com.

17. “Technotrash”: Easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, cell phones, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk’s Technotrash program. For a small fee, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees. 800/305-GREENDISK, www.greendisk.com.

18. Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring: www.nikereuseashoe.com. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti: www.oneworldrunning.com.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline , and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline toothbrushes and razors are made from used Stonyfield Farms’m yogurt cups. 888/354-7296, www.recycline.com

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can’t recycle: When practical, send it back to the manufacturer (with a copy of our McDonough interviewon p. 26) and tell them they need to close the waste loop. This list was originally created by Green America. For more information from Green America click here.

The Greening of Spas

Sunday, March 7, 2010 by
Green SpaThe term “green” and all of its variations—”going green,” “green building,” and “greening your home”—was so ubiquitous in the late 2000's that it received the most nominations for the “Words Banished From the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse, and General Uselessness” list. At first this accolade might appear to be bad news, but such recognition indicates that the concept has reached significant market penetration.

Much like the word “green,” the term “spa” has also become completely woven into the fabric of our current society. One in four Americans visited a spa in 2008 reports the International Spa Association. Both green and spa represent a reconnection with the treasure of our natural resources.

Spas and Sustainability
Fifteen years ago the spa movement and industry ignited in unprecedented growth in the U.S. on the wave of increasing awareness of the mind-body connection and alternative approaches to health. The double digit annual growth of the industry brought in new players, elaborate spa facilities and the perception that spa is luxury with no limit on the consumption of resources. Now new wave in spa is providing consumers with a choice to enhance well-being naturally in an environment that values and cares for our planet’s health.

The Green Spa Network and member spas embrace the responsibility of living these values personally and professionally to attain measurable improvements towards full integration on the sustainability spectrum. Cici Coffee of Natural Body International, Inc. provides an example of spa leadership in practice: “In 2004, we implemented a charitable campaign with Georgia Organics in which we sold co-branded T-shirts and donated 100% of profits to the nonprofit, GO. In 2005, we implemented an employee contribution campaign with Earth Share in which Natural Body partially matched such contributions. We are now in our fourth year with workplace campaigns for Earth Share and have pledged in excess of $40,000 to this environmental nonprofit. We reward our eco-ambassador in every location to excite the team to achieve their philanthropic goals, so the store that improves the most is awarded a team party.”

The ultimate goal is to become a zero waste spa by sending nothing to landfills—an audacious goal on the sustainability path. Sheila Armen at the Strong House Spa in Vermont has taken this goal of achieving zero waste to heart. Strong House started the Cosmetic Recycling Program that allows clients to bring in old products that contain chemicals and get a $5 credit toward organic products. “We then recycle not only the containers but the products inside,” says Armen. “All cleansing products go to our recycling company to wash their trucks.”

Such simple changes are proving successful for spa morale and cost savings across the country. Michael Stusser, founder of Osmosis and president of the Green Spa Network, explained that “our spa has had much stronger cohesiveness since we have become a committed sustainable spa. Many favorable stories in the press and awards from local governmental and business organizations have contributed to a good feeling among staff and guests as we all work together to reduce our load on mother Earth. We estimate that the hard cost savings in training and operational effectiveness to be $12,500 per year, and the improvement in staff moral and customer service substantial.”

Highlights of current greening initiatives in GSN member spa operations include:
• Use LED and CFL lighting, lighting sensors, and educate employees about the conscious use of energy.
• Design spa treatment protocols with conservation fixtures and client messaging that prevents water waste. Subtracting only 1 minute per hot shower can save $75 on utility bills and 2,700 gallons of water per year for a family of three. Eliminating water waste in 14,000 US spas is part of the GSN mission.
• Collecting recyclable microfiber linens that can be used in building materials, and other damaged and worn textiles are donated to animal shelters.
• Reduce paper waste through technological options such as online client software and management tools and eliminate need for printed materials.
• Replace single use supplies with items such as durable beverage cups, cloth hand towels, and microfiber body wraps.
• Utilize biologically safe laundry detergents, non-chlorine bleach and energy efficient equipment.

Stusser states, “The GSN is dedicated to creating a culture of merit by celebrating and sharing best practices. We have begun by having our members take realistic steps that can be easily accomplished with the intention of gradually raising the bar for sustainable business practices throughout the entire spa community. The network acknowledges that we are in this together and sharing our individual successes and innovations will bring everyone closer to the possibility of a transformed world.”

360˚ SUSTAINABILITY
The concept of “green” is often thought of only in terms of environment. The GSN has adopted a 360- degree view of sustainability that benchmarks and measures progress. The benchmarks range from startup initiatives to fully integrated sustainability practices within the following categories:

leadership
employee experience
guest experience; treatment protocols
retail products
linens and textiles
food and beverage
community connection
waste
water use
lighting
environment
equipment
sanitation/laundry
linens
energy use
pool operations

SELECTING A PRODUCT
When it comes to a spa’s retail product line, the GSN encourages members to select product lines that correspond with philosophies of well-being, quality, sustainability, and responsibility. The sustainability continuum progresses with these benchmarks:

Incubator level: Whenever possible select retail skincare and other product lines that fit your sustainability goals; communicate your sustainability and ingredient goals to product suppliers; plan to eliminate products that contain synthetics, fragrances and dyes, phthalates, parabens, and triclosan.

Initiative level: Audit retail products from a sustainability perspective; request that supplier(s) employ sustainable practices such as packaging, local sourcing of raw materials; and ensure that at least 20% of products offered are fair trade, organic, sustainable, made with pure ingredients, and packaged sustainably.

Integrated level: 100% of retail skincare products are certified at the highest level [USDA NOP, EcoCert, Natural Products Association, NaTrue, Soil Association, NSF, or BDIH certification] for product quality, purity, and sustainability.

Most GSN member spas are beyond the initiative level in the retail product category and aspiring to the fully integrated level as certifications and verifications are made available.

OSMOSIS SPA IN CALIFORNIA SEES GREENING AS A STEP IN SHIFTING THE IMAGE OF A SPA VISIT AWAY FROM ONE OF PAMPERING INDULGENCE TO A MORE GROUNDED AND HOLISTIC EXPERIENCE THAT MAKES THE OBVIOUS CONNECTION BETWEEN PERSONAL AND PLANETARY WELLNESS.

THE NATURAL BODY SPA IN ATLANTA HAS 100 YEAR OLD RECLAIMED BARN WOOD FLOORING AND SHELVING AND HAS BEEN AN OFFICIAL DROP OFF SITE FOR USED CELL PHONES THAT ARE THEN PICKED UP BY EARTH SHARE FOR RECYCLING

Rhana Pytell is co- founder and director of GAIA Spa in La Jolla CA. Ms. Pytell also founded Amethyst Systems, a company that provides templates and spa management tools in a web-based format. Rhana serves on the board of the Green Spa Network.

Relationships, Relevance, and Results

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 by


8 PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE MULTICULTURAL COMMUNICATION


 

Every day, thousands of businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies encounter the challenges and the benefits of working in an increasingly multicultural society. From reaching out to potential customers, clients, donors, and taxpayers to providing critical products and services, every organization in today’s society must make effective communication in a multicultural context a key priority. It is an absolute necessity for organizational success and for building healthy communities.

Taking a multicultural approach to communication increases the relevance and impact by recognizing, respecting, and engaging the cultural backgrounds of all stakeholders and framing communication in ways that invite real participation and dialogue. Effective multicultural communication unlocks new resources and brings additional perspectives and talents to the table to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to our most challenging social, environmental, and economic issues.

An analysis of the raw data highlights the significance and growth of our nation’s increasingly multicultural population. Take ethnicity statistics alone: ethnic and racial groups account for 30 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 90 million people. By 2050, communities of color will make up 49 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 209 million people.

Through our work with leading businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies, we have distilled eight principles for effective multicultural communication. You will see that many of the principles make great sense for communication to all audiences and are built upon well-established communication and social marketing theory.

1) Check Your Assumptions at the Door: Begin With Yourself
Before beginning to work with any group that is culturally, ethnically, or racially different from your own, it is critical to step back and identify any assumptions, preconceived beliefs, or stereotypes that you might hold about that population. Your best intentions may be undermined by old assumptions or isolated experiences that can impact your ability to develop a sound strategy that effectively achieves the behavioral, attitudinal, or systematic change you seek. It is also essential that you not assume a particular group holds the same set of values or beliefs as your own.

2) Understand the Cultural Context(s) of Your Audience: Do Your Homework
The goal of any communication is creating shared understanding. As communicators, when we relay a message (language, symbols, images), it is with the expectation that the receiver can interpret as the sender intended and has the ability to take action accordingly. This is not always the case. Various cultural groups have unique ways of perceiving, organizing, and relating to information. They may have different needs, values, motivators, and behaviors. The norm for one group may not necessarily be relevant or appropriate for another group. The message must fit the cultural context (the norms, ideas, beliefs, and totality of meaning shared by a cultural group) of the audiences you want to reach.

3) Invest Before You Request: Create Community-Centered Partnerships
Historically, there has been a tendency to reach out to organizations serving special populations at the point when businesses, issue advocates, or other organizations need help accessing a community or seek to expand service or products to a community. Too often the first introduction is a request for assistance in conducting outreach, sharing information, facilitating market research, or referring participants to programs. In many cases, communication has been one way and self-centered—what can this person or organization do for us? By investing in the community—learning about organizational needs, attending events and community forums, and participating in community-based efforts—you can build trust and the foundation for long-term engagement. By taking this step first, before you have a specific programmatic request, you invest in building connections that lead to long-term partnerships.

4) Develop Authentic Relationships: Maintain a Long-Term Perspective
Authentic relationships are those that engage community members in idea generation, feedback, and decision making. Such a relationship is patiently developed because there is no need to rush to get to know and understand each other. The relationship is based on a true sense of shared values and shared mission and is focused on ongoing collaboration rather than a specific project. Communication, contribution, and commitment are all two-way.

5) Build Shared Ownership: Engage, Don’t Just Involve
As you seek to engage the community in your work, look for opportunities for the community to become vested in the mission that drives your work and its outcomes. Identify opportunities for leadership roles for members of the community and engage them as decision makers and owners of strategy. Actively seek their guidance and input in evaluating and refining strategies and messages. When there is more than one cultural group that you wish to engage, identify the needs, values, and motivators that the groups have in common and use these to develop messages and strategies that help unify the groups. This approach helps build community, ensure that groups do not feel they are in competition for attention or resources, and also helps to identify and elevate shared community needs and values that help shape ongoing community dialogue.

6) Walk Your Talk: Lead By Example
All of us have had experiences in which the message conveyed by an organization is inconsistent with its actions and behaviors. The classic example is a retail business with a huge welcome sign in the window and a staff that ignores you. This is just a manifestation of the challenges audiences experience when the message doesn’t match the experience. If you say that your programs are flexible, open to all members of the community, and based on community needs, then that must be what your audience experiences. If you commit to collaboration, then you must behave collaboratively. If you are committed to providing services to “everyone” in the community, your organization’s staff, governance, and partnerships need to reflect the community, and your resources need to benefit that community.

7) Relate, Don’t Translate: Place Communication Into Cultural Context
Successful multicultural communication requires more than just translating English-language content. It requires embracing the social nuances of diverse cultural groups and markets and actively engaging them in the creation of relevant communication strategies, tools, and messages that have the best opportunity to achieve the desired action. When existing strategies are deemed effective, the process of adaptation for new audiences is much broader than the words on a page. In fact, more important than deciding which language to use in your materials is ensuring that the content resonates with the culture and identity of your audience.

Effective multicultural communication entails appropriate interpersonal communication dynamics, the right context, and appropriate usage of culturally relevant imagery, vocabulary, vernacular, metaphors, or slang. Translation makes things readable, not necessarily relevant. A better approach is to make a conscious choice between translating existing concepts that work, relating existing concepts into new images and words that convey ideas more effectively, or developing completely new creative (message frame, copy, imagery).

8) Anticipate Change: Be Prepared to Succeed
Bringing new people and new perspectives into your organization, especially those from a cultural group that has not been previously engaged—be they staff, volunteers, clients, customers, members, investors, donors or community partners—will naturally change the dynamics of your organization. It may change how the organization is structured, governed, and staffed. It may impact how consensus is built, how meetings are managed, and how decisions are made. It may impact how a product is reformulated or how a marketing campaign is planned and executed. When conducting multicultural communication, answer the questions: “Are we prepared to succeed?” “Are we ready for change?”

Cases Study Examples:

The YMCA offers many examples of community-centered partnerships.

Issue: The YMCA of the Columbia-Willamette in Portland, Oregon, was interested in connecting with the fast-growing Latino population in the area. It wanted to increase Latino participation in programs and encourage that community to volunteer and become potential donors to the organization.

Strategy: The YMCA’s president was new to the area, recently relocated from Los Angeles, where he had worked extensively with Latino youth and families. He reached out to a local Latino-led community organization that served children and youth through a variety of programs. He offered transportation, access to facilities, and staff to lead nutrition and fitness classes free of charge.

Results and Impact: The pilot program sparked multiple on-site programs and joint fundraising efforts over several years. The Latino organization gained access to quality facilities, expert staff, and curriculum about health, fitness, and nutrition to supplement its educational and workforce development programs. Hundreds of children and teens benefited from year-round health and fitness programming. Over time, this relationship led to new Latino board members, an increase in Latino volunteers, and an increase in the number of Latino youths and families attending YMCA programs and services (the original goal).

New Seasons Market is a good example of investing before requesting.

Issue: New Seasons Market is a chain of Oregon grocery stores committed to building strong communities and supporting a healthy regional food economy and environment. Unlike many stores that carry a wide array of natural and organic foods, New Seasons has opened several stores in underserved neighborhoods that include the established African-American community, a growing Latino population, and many new Southeast Asian and Eastern European immigrants. These stores are in locations that were abandoned by traditional grocers decades ago. New Seasons needed to establish community support to build the stores and a strong customer base in neighborhoods other grocers had considered unprofitable.

Strategy: New Seasons’ CEO and other leaders began attending neighborhood meetings prior to siting new stores. They learned from community members that a major need and priority was bringing a grocery store with healthy food into the neighborhood. They garnered community feedback on store location, product mix, and service needs. They began hiring and recruiting from the neighborhood for jobs in their other stores while new stores were in development. They participated in priority neighborhood projects, from street tree plantings to sponsoring a youth entrepreneurship program at one store. They advocated as an ally of the community for improved transit and other needs.

Results and Impact: New Seasons opened two large stores in neighborhoods without a grocery store and hired staff at all levels that reflected the local community. The diverse customer base from the neighborhoods has made both stores very successful. New Seasons has forged strong community partnerships and relationships, providing it with allies on priority issues of food policy. In turn, New Seasons has been engaged as an ally for community development and economic equity priorities. Further, local communities have pointed to New Seasons as an example of the expectation they have for other companies that benefit from doing business in their neighborhood.

The Lee y serás campaign (an initiative of the National Council of La Raza, Scholastic Inc., and Verizon) is a good example of “relate, don’t translate.”

Issue: Currently, 86 percent of Latino fourth-graders and 91 percent of Latino eighth-graders in the U.S. read at or below basic skill levels. Fewer than 25 percent of Latino 17-year-olds can read at the skill level necessary for success in college and the increasingly high-tech workplace. This achievement gap actually begins before children enter kindergarten. A major goal of this national bilingual early-literacy initiative is to empower parents and childcare providers to play a first teacher role.

Strategy: As the education system has increasingly encouraged learning English, non-English speaking parents do not receive encouragement for and may even be discouraged from reading to their children. Also, the traditional message of “Read to your children so they will be better prepared for school” does not resonate as well in the Latino community due to a belief by some segments of the community that learning begins in school, not at home. Clearly, traditional literacy frames would not work with this audience. New materials and a unique creative approach were needed in Spanish and best developed within a cultural context that the various Latino subpopulations could relate to.

The campaign’s focus group research guided the development of a message framework that centered on succeeding in life, rather than the dominant literacy message frame, “Read to your child so they can succeed in school.” Latino cultural strengths such as storytelling, rhymes, and singing were emphasized. Further, based upon an understanding of the work-life demands (another cultural context factor) of the primary audience, the message frame highlighted how talking, telling stories, and singing to children could be incorporated into parents’ daily activities. 

By recognizing that many parents have multiple jobs and cannot meet the demands of traditional messages that call for a set amount of time spent reading each day, the campaign created a culturally relevant frame that was effective with parents and primary caregivers. Six pilot campaign markets were selected to reflect cultural needs of specific subpopulations such as Chicanos and Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, Cubans and South Americans in Miami, and Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in New York.

Results and Impact: Initial impact assessments in the six markets show very promising success. Parents involved in the program clearly and enthusiastically articulate and act on their first teacher role and articulate the core messages of the campaign in their own words when describing what is important for their children to succeed. Cultural aspects of the program such as rhymes, stories, and songs have been particularly well received.

Conclusion
Effective multicultural communication is a critical factor in engaging and garnering support from the full spectrum of voters, donors, customers, constituents, and stakeholders that make up the American mosaic. By applying the eight principles, your organization can better advance your goals and help create a stronger and more equitable society. While there are many nuances, approaches, and perspectives to learn and apply, ultimately it all comes down to what we like to call the 3Rs: Relevance, Relationships, and Results.

Metropolitan Group is a full-service social change agency that crafts and integrates strategic communication, resource development, and creative services that empower social-purpose organizations to build a just and sustainable world. More information is available at www.metgroup.com.

Where to find a LOHAS job

Wednesday, January 6, 2010 by

Job searchMore often then not I get emails and calls asking if there are any positions available at LOHAS. I also get many emails and meetings over coffee to discuss options with collegues who are between things which is the PC way of saying they too are out of work. The fact that there are more people looking for fewer poistions makes it a competitive arena and intimidating. Plus many don't want to sacrifice their LOHAS values for the sake of food on the table. To aid those in search of a future LOHAS employer we have comprised a list of links that you may find useful to your desired field of work.

GREEN INDUSTRY
Great Green Careers
Great Green Careers lists jobs in renewable energy, the environment and sustainable building.

Idealist.org
A place to find dream job in the nonprofit sector, or find resources to continue growing in career.

Ethical Jobs
Jobs and resumes in ethical fields - Charities, Corporate Social Responsibility, Family & Children and other categories.

Care2.com Job Listing
Care2 is the largest online network for people who want to make a difference.

Greenjobs
"One-stop" site where recruiters and job seekers can interact.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy - Career Network
Employment opportunities in company gift, charity and fund raising programs.

SpiritList.com (Southern California)
SpiritList is designed for all involved in the fields of holistic health and well-being.

Clean Edge
Your source for Clean Tech jobs.

ENVIRONMENTAL/ ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Green Career Central

Green Career Central is a membership website that provides expert career coaching and advice. There is  a green job board that is open to everyone as source of green job and career openings.

Green Dream Jobs at Sustainablebusiness.com
Offer opportunities that fulfill society's needs while contributing to the well-being of all earth's inhabitants.

Environmental Career Opportunities
500+ Environmental Jobs in conservation, education, policy, science & engineering and more!

EnvironmentalCAREER.com
Assists individuals and employers in matching potential employees with employers.

EcoEmploy.com
Find environmental jobs in government, companies and non-profits. Includes science, natural and green opportunities.

Green Biz Job Listing
Provides a listing of opportunities in various environmentally oriented businesses.

Envirolink
A grassroots online community that unites hundreds of organizations and volunteers.

The UK Green Directory 
Information about the environmental sector in the UK for consumer, professional and business users.

GeographyJobs
GeographyJobs is a job search and job by e-mail service that is focused on bringing together geographers and employers in need of their talents.

WELLNESS/FITNESS
Wellness Jobs
Post Wellness job employment resume or find a Wellness job listing

WellnessCoachCareers.com
Search for Personal Trainer Jobs, Fitness Jobs, and Careers in Corporate Fitness and Wellness.

American Herbal Products Association Job Bank
The AHPA Job Board powered by CPGjobs provides natural health product companies with a specialized tool to assist in the recruitment and hiring of quality candidates.

Yoga Finder
Find yoga jobs and opportunities.

Health and Yoga Community
As the Yoga community grows around the world, Health and Yoga Placements & Recruitments allows Yoga Job Seekers and Yoga Recruiters to find each other.

FitnessJobs.com
FitnessJobs.com is an internet recruitment site/job board that specializes in the health, fitness, recreation and leisure industries.

HEALING ARTS
Healing Schools Job Listing
This listing can help you transition from student to practitioner with a salary. You can also find internships as well.

DIVERSITY/MINORITY
Jobs4.0
The leading source of job opportunities for candidates 40 and over.

Diversity Jobs
Diversity job board and workplace diversity blog with the latest news, articles, opinions and information.

MinorityJobs.net
Free Resume posting & Job listing site, with Career guide, civil rights, legal & government news archive, plus scholarship links.

DiversityWorking.com
The largest diversity job board online, career opportunity and news source resource and job search engine for the cultural diversity marketplace.

Women on Hire Job Listing
National career fair and diversity recruitment information as well as career advice for women including: job interview questions, resume example and cover letter.

Women’s Job List
Over 2000 companies and organizations link to this site, providing employers with exclusive access to highly qualified candidates.

OUTDOORS
Outdoor Adventure Professional Network Job Listing
Free job search and posting site for outdoor adventure professionals.

OceanCareers.com
Explore over fifty ocean-related careers.

Wilderdom Job Listing
Current outdoor education jobs and employment opportunities - links to adventure education positions around the world.

NON-LOHAS SITES (but information on LOHAS jobs available)
Juju
Speed up your job search and find better jobs! Juju searches millions of jobs from thousands of sites.

Simply Hired
Search over 5 million job listings and thousands of jobs sites to find a job you love.

Craigslist
craigslist provides local classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events.

CareerBuilder.com
Search 1.6 million Jobs on CareerBuilder.com. Find new employment or work. Fresh job listings posted daily.

Indeed
Search millions of jobs from thousands of job boards, newspapers, classifieds and company websites.

If there are any others you wish to add please let me know. There are a ton out there and Id like to know which ones are good and bad. Good luck in your search!